How concerned are you for other people? Honestly, truthfully, how often do you think about other people and their welfare? Here in vv.14-16 we really see Paul’s pastoral heart on show for the saints in Christ Jesus who [were] at Philippi.
Paul wants to know that they have heard him, understood him, and are doing something about it (v.16b). He is concerned that they are taking seriously his words to work out your own salvation. He implores them not to make the same grumbling or disputing mistakes as rebellious Israel did whilst wandering (Deuteronomy 32.5), and writes that this kind of behaviour is part of the command, essentially, from v.12. Part of working out our own salvation, then, is to be blameless and innocent, children of God without blemish.
We know that being blameless in the eyes of God comes only from having put faith in Jesus and from nothing we can do in our own strength, don’t we, but here Paul is focusing on this truth’s outworking in our lives.
Almost as an assumption he writes that the behaviour of the believer is to be different among those whom grumble or dispute, so different that believers shine as lights in the world.
Notice Paul doesn’t encourage the Philippians to shine, rather assumes that they already are shining as lights in the world.
So, believer, are you shining as a light in the world? Are you doing your earthly best to not grumble or dispute, to be blameless and innocent…in the midst of a crooked and twisted generation?
Again, this is assumed, not encouraged. Think of it as part of your witness, the evidence you give to the world that you are a believer, the fruit you bare that shows others what the Christian life looks like. D.Martyn Lloyd Jones wrote on this in his book ‘Spiritual Depression’ and said, loosely, that not to live like this is a pretty woeful witness.
So friends, go today and shine as lights in the world!